CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Rental car thieves considering Charleston’s Yeager Airport a prime target of opportunity may want to think about taking their business elsewhere.
Of 13 vehicles stolen from the five rental car companies doing business at the airport during the past year, 12 have been recovered and 11 suspects have been arrested, thanks to the work of Yeager’s eight-person police force. Yeager Airport Police also handled the investigation that led to the arrest, conviction and incarceration of a man involved in an embezzlement scheme that netted $65,000 in fraudulent ticket refunds from the airline he worked for prior to his arrest.
“Nearly all the car thefts involved the fraudulent use of credit cards,” said Ivan Neeley, the airport police department’s lead investigator. Most of the credit cards involved had in turn been stolen during incidents of identity theft, he said.
Four of the stolen rental cars turned up in Detroit, while others were recovered in Cleveland, Chicago and, in one case, Louisiana.
The value of the recovered cars is about $260,000.
One of the recovered vehicles had been rented for five days, but the person who drove off with the car continued to use it for the next three years until Yeager Airport Police caught up with him, said Terry Sayers, the airport’s security director.
“There’s one $30,000 car out there that I can’t find, yet,”said Neeley, who investigated vehicle thefts for the Charleston Police Department before joining the Yeager Airport force nine years ago…